Want something to read? Here’s 5 liberal books to keep you going!

As the UK heads into at least three weeks of lockdown, here are some suggestions for Liberal Democrats in want of a good book.

British Liberal Leaders (2015) – Edited by Duncan Brack, Robert Ingham and Tony Little

British Liberal Leaders - British Leaders (Hardback)

The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics – New Directions in Critical Theory (2014) – Adrian Parr

The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics - New Directions in Critical Theory 48 (Paperback)

A fascinating case put foward by Adrian Parr. Here, Parr argues that only when we understand the dominating role played by capital in international diplomacy and environmental politics, can we begin to truly reshape our economy to support a stable and flourishing environment.

The End of History and the Last Man (2012 Penguin; 1st Edition) – Francis Fukuyama

 

The End of History and the Last Man (Paperback)

Fukuyama’s 1992 classic text proclaiming the victory of Western liberal democracy makes interesting reading in a decade of Brexit and Trump. A reminder of how quickly the global political landscape changes. Liberal democracy is fragile and needs constant work and protection.

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction (2016) – Philip E Tetlock and Dan Gardener

Superforecasting

In what now feels like decades ago, Dominic Cummings told journalists waiting outside his London home to read Philip Tetlock’s book ‘Superforcasting’ to better understand sacked Downing Street adviser Andrew Sabinsky. Well…now you can!

Capital and Ideology (2020) – Thomas Piketty

Capital and Ideology

Following the success of Piketty’s first international bestselling tome ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ (2013), he has returned. This time, the French economist presents a volume almost twice the size as his initial bestseller. I can’t say I’ve finished this new volume, but it certainly is a work in progress!

Beighton Canvassing Session – Sheffield Lib Dems

The Sheffield Liberal Democrats had another successful canvassing session in Beighton yesterday evening.

Well done to the Lib Dem team for going out on the doors!

We even managed an action shot! (Featuring THREE Toms)

ESyNGKFU8AAD4VM

Action Day – Sheffield Lib Dems

IMG_20200201_171135
1 February 2020: Action day with the Sheffield Liberal Democrats. Source: Laura Gordon (@LibDemLaura)

Out on the doorstep this morning to help elect two excellent candidates, Alan Woodcock and Ann Whittaker, to the council in May.

On the UK’s first day outside the European Union, it is more important now than ever to campaign for a liberal UK. That campaign starts with local politics and local councillors.

Labour’s Answer: A ‘People’s Vote’ for party members

Image result for labour.org.uk labour conference
Source: labour.org.uk

Labour Party members should be given a vote in an internal Brexit referendum before MPs vote on another proposed deal from Prime Minister Theresa May.

The ballot would ask:

“Should the Parliamentary Labour Party support Britain’s exit from the EU?”

 

  • Yes  (Leave)
  • No (Remain)

 

An internal party poll would be better than a ‘People’s Vote’ for three reasons.

  1. In 2015 and 2016, Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader having promised to give party members a greater say over party policy. Until now, many allies of the leader have worked hard to get Corbyn-friendly candidates elected onto party bodies. During Mr Corbyn’s leadership however, the membership’s role in influencing party policy has remained unchanged. If Mr Corbyn still believes in empowering grassroots members, then he would support this proposal.
  2. Second, the party would bear the cost of resolving its own split and not the taxpayer through a costly nationwide poll. One leading argument for those who are against another referendum is that it would cost money and take up much needed time on parliament’s already tight timetable. But an internal referendum, asking party members for their advice would not disrupt the existing timetable. The shadow cabinet has spent months explaining its ‘six tests’ and Brexit strategy. Therefore, shadow ministers would not need to embark on a lengthy campaign to persuade party members to vote one way or another. Members would be asked to reflect on an existing policy position.
  3. Third, this route would keep parliament sovereign as the internal referendum would be held at the request of Labour parliamentarians, seeking the advice of party members. Another criticism of a ‘People’s Vote’ is that like all referendums in the UK, they can threaten the ability of parliamentarians to make the final decision on political matters. Although this internal poll would also be unbinding, it is an opportunity for the leadership to better engage with the views of all members of the party.

If members vote to leave the EU, then Labour would whip its MPs to vote accordingly. Labour should request that a cross-party group be established to negotiate the terms of withdrawal instead of a one-party executive.

If members vote to remain in the EU, then the PLP would vote to withdraw Article 50 and seek to block any legislation that did not guarantee the same conditions as full membership.

I make this proposal as a long-time party member and supporter, seeking the most civil solution to an unwanted and artificial problem from the Cameron-era.

52123741_2269420073102093_2435900640480722944_n Tom Parkin is a Labour member, former CLP Youth Officer and Labour NEC candidate. He is currently studying International Relations and Politics at the University of Sheffield. (Twitter: @tompjparkin)